The departure of our blessed Lady Thatcher means there is now only one Margaret in my life - Mrs Pickwick.
Both have been powerful Margarets - but have always been at different ends of the spectrum.
Lady T, capable of existing on minimal sleep whilst firing on all cylinders. Mrs P, a slave to her beauty sleep, frequently embracing the sandman by a least 9.30pm wherever she is and at times concluding prematurely whatever she is doing as a result.
Lady T, capable of reaching for the whisky bottle at midnight, going head to head with hardened old timers to debate social and political issues into the small hours. Mrs P, sometimes disabled by even the sniff of hard liquor causing her to be immobilised at an early hour, her powers of debate silenced, declaring she would never drink again from under a duvet in a quietening monotone until it was extinguished by snoring.
But both Mrs P and Lady T exhibited the same single minded force of nature. Lady T in her steadfast economic management and refusal to bring the UK under European Monetary Union. Mrs P in her choice of white goods and the way she regularly negotiates the Chelmsford one-way system. In both, the Lady was not for turning.
Also, it has been impossible to take a bad picture of either Mrs P or Lady T in any environment, even where attempts are made to distract them. Whilst others in the picture were often clearly troubled, the Ladies were not for gurning.
In his tribute to Lady T in the House of Lords debate last week, John Selwyn Gummer, now Lord Deben described Lady T as a very beautiful woman who "had beautiful hands and wonderful ankles and knew how to use both". I am pleased to say the same is true of Mrs P although I have not until today concluded my view on her ankles. I was fortunately able to do this without having to change my glasses or to disturb my lumber region. The latter in particular is normally inflamed when I am coming to a conclusion on ankles or other body parts in the immediate area belonging to Mrs P or whoever else may be around.
I do take issue with the noble Lord regarding the use of ankles. The mighty Google fails to enlighten if you search for "use of ankles". I did however come across a fringe interest site "ankle heel fetish", which contained some wonderful specimens although sadly not Lady T's. I have concluded that ankles are like the u-bend pipes under washbasins - you would miss them if they were not there.
Mrs P has exhibited fine skills of economic management throughout our romantic coalition applying tight control on the money supply although she was thankfully never afraid of inflationary pressure. Lady T on the other hand would have had none of this save for in her early days.
And what would Lady T have thought of the cost of the funeral and disruption from interminable events to celebrate her legacy in this age of austerity. Surely, the cost should be covered by the private sector reflecting true Conservative principles. And I have the answer. The funeral should be sponsored by Carlsberg with banners all over London with the face of Thatcher and the strapline "Probably the best Prime Minister in the World".
Now she has gone, I will hold onto my indefatigable and beautiful Margaret, her ankles, her hands and the whole damn lot of her, making sure I do not lose her in a vat of cream. After all, the Lady is not for churning.